Friday, September 23, 2016

The Once And Future Kang!

In The Avengers #267 we encounter for the first time (that we know of) the Council of Cross-Time Kangs. This is an epic which will sprawl across the series off and on until issue three hundred but here is the initial fracas.

The story begins with an Avengers which has among its members Storm and Colossus of the X-Men. Iron Man appears and brings with him a bomb which devastates the whole of New York City along with the Avengers. The "Iron Man" in question turns out to be Kang, a Kang who himself gets transported to a sitting council of three more Kangs who determine his schemes are too dangerous to the time stream for him to be allowed to live and summarily execute him. These Kangs go their separate ways but one follows another and they discuss the situation. It seems when Kang sets his plots into motion he creates alternate time lines and alternate Kangs, many of them inferior in some respect to the more or less originals. One Kang introduces his comrade to Ravonna who has been rescued in this time line and then kills him.  The story shifts to the Avengers mansion where the team (Wasp, Hercules, Black Knight, Captain America, and Captain Marvela long with new recruit Namor, The Sub-Mariner) are building a connector from the Mansion to Hydrobase. The Wasp, The Knight and Hercules encounter first the Hulk, then Giant-Man  and realize that they are in Limbo and these unconscious heroes are the evidence of the first encounter with The Space Phantom. They are then taunted by a robot Kang while the original gloats.

Cap, Captain Marvel, and new Avengers Namor the Sub-Mariner follow the first three Avengers and find nothing. Then we meet Kang and Ravonna as he builds more robot doubles.

The Black Knight, Hercules, and Wasp encounter the Space Phantom, then Dire Wraiths who want to be killed in battle and finally the Growing Man.The Earth-bound trio of Avengers build a time machine to take them to Limbo and look for their comrades. Battles rage across Limbo until the entire team is captured by Kang and put into stasis.

Once again Kang shares his elaborate history and details from his perspective his many battles and his eventual discovery of his duplicates across time and his decision to destroy them. The Avengers eventually escape captivity and confront Kang.

We then learn that Ravonna is not the loyal follower we thought and that another is in league with her. The Avengers and Kang battle until Immortus reveals himself and says that he not Kang is in charge of the situation. Unable to deal with his humiliating defeat Kang grabs a device from Immortus but it proves too powerful for him and he dashes into Limbo seemingly mad. The Avengers are sent home and Immortus and Ravonna discuss their Machiavellian methods.

This is a smooth well-crafted time travel story with good solid characters who are worthy. But this story does lack a certain excitement somehow. Perhaps it's because there is so much explanation needed to keep it all straight, I don't know. I admire this tale for its craftsmanship, but it does lack a certain magic somehow.

There are many other Kang stories, but that's all I have time for this month. Time has run out on this little visit down memory lane. Kang would forgive me, or perhaps not.

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